Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fewer employers offer tuition reimbursement

College students hoping to receive graduate school tuition reimbursement from their future employers should take note of these trends.
More business students receive employer tuition assistance, but fewer employers offer the benefit and fewer still will pick up the whole tab.... 

Today's working MBA hopefuls are facing more rigorous selection criteria and tougher odds than the generation before them when it comes to getting an employer to pay their way through school. Research suggests employers have found new ways to make the most of their graduate tuition investments, and avoid being burned by fickle employees who accept the money and leave anyway.
A growing number of prospective students are without the benefit at all. In 2010, 56 percent of employers offered graduate school assistance, down from 69 percent in 2003, according to annual benefits data collected by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The group's data show an average steady decline in offerings of about 2 percent a year. For companies with 500 employees or more, 75 percent offered the benefit in 2010, down from 80 percent in 2007.
Meanwhile, use of such programs more than doubled between 1992 and 2007, according to a 2010 joint study by SHRM and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), with the biggest boost among employees seeking graduate degrees. Thirty-six percent of employees reporting tuition reimbursements in 2007 said they were pursuing a master's degree, vs. 21 percent in 1992. Business was the top area of study reported in the survey, which included management, accounting, finance, marketing, and business administration degrees....

One reason tuition reimbursement is on the decline is that employers no longer expect a return on their educational investment. Cappelli says few employers viewed tuition sponsorship as a program where they would see an actual return on their investment following a student's graduation. 
Source:  Bloomberg Businessweek

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